Record Investments In Mental Health And Addictions Will Protect The Health Of Saskatchewan Residents
The 2021-22 provincial budget will invest a record-high $458 million toward mental health and addictions programs and services across Saskatchewan, an increase of $23.4 million or 5.4 per cent over last year. Mental health and addictions programs and services account for 7.5 per cent of the overall Health budget.
This year's budget will increase $7.2 million for targeted mental health and addictions services including specific youth-focused initiatives, more investments in suicide prevention, and significant expansion in harm reduction and addictions treatment. The remaining $16.2 million increase is primarily for hospital-based mental health and addictions services, physician visits and prescription drug costs.
"Our government is building on recent investments with increased funding to deliver a wide range of services that protect mental health and address the addictions issues experienced by individuals and families across Saskatchewan," Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Minister Everett Hindley said. "As we continue to see these concerns growing across our nation, our government remains committed to providing as much support to as many youth and adults as possible."
The new $7.2 million targeted investments include:
- $4.64 million for mental health services including:
- $2.0 million to establish up to three provincial locations for a youth-focused initiative that integrates mental health and addictions, physical health and community and social services. This innovative approach will also emphasize community partnerships and youth/family engagement;
- $1.0 million to implement actions as part of Pillars for Life: The Saskatchewan Suicide Prevention Plan;
- $500,000 to extend the pilot with the RCMP that partners registered nurses with RCMP members to support mental health needs in rural areas;
- $500,000 for mental health and addictions public awareness campaigns;
- $250,000 to address higher demand for mental health services as a result of COVID-19 impacts;
- $240,000 to add a Police and Crisis Team (PACT) in Estevan; and
- $150,000 to enhance support for HealthIM, an innovative technology tool that supports communication among hospitals and mental health emergency response.
$2.6 million to enhance addiction and harm reduction services, including the following:
- $750,000 to establish and equip three innovative buses that will be based out of Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert to provide mobile harm reduction services;
- $440,000 to significantly improve access to harm reduction supplies, including an expansion of the Take Home Naloxone Program to many more locations across the province with the aim of making naloxone kits available in more pharmacies and co-locating naloxone kits with AED machines;
- $250,000 to address increased need for addiction services as a result of COVID-19 impacts;
- $240,000 for supports for high risk expectant mothers; and
- $70,000 toward an addictions medicine training program for physicians.
The government has also committed to building upon the success of the new addiction treatment centre located at St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan. In the 2021-22 budget, $850,000 will be allocated for 12 additional provincial addiction treatment beds, as well as two new pre-treatment beds. This addition will increase the total number of beds at the Estevan facility to 32 treatment beds and six pre-treatment beds.